Vanilla is a product of Lussumo:Documentation and Support.
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The first incursion came on like how one’s foot falls asleep. As sudden realization of the flesh, an explosion of tactile sense rising out of the static noise of sense, a car horn blaring out of the din of street traffic. The stark and jolting knowledge that something was moving in the ether. It was while I was at Pearson airport, long after the rest of the city had fallen asleep and only a few short hours before it would be waking up again. But planes and flight schedules are creatures out of time, hopping and skipping across clocks like stones across the surface of a pond. Leave Toronto at six in the morning; arrive in Vancouver by noon, the time spent aboard the plane in flight, five hours. Somewhere you loose an hour and I can’t help but wonder what I did with it. Did I spend it well? Or just waste it away, languishing over thoughts of missing time? This is an escape. Akin to a prison break, the tickets nestled in my pocket are the false documents that will allow me to step out the front gates, like a craft criminal performing the smoothest of deceptions. My reason for this trip is to put as much distance between this city and me as I can with out crossing international borders. Toronto holds nothing in the summer months for a boy of no means who is all too fallible to the pitfalls and snares he laid across town in the cruelty of his youth.Once aboard the plane I will feel better, once aboard the plane I can begin to forget. The flight itself will be uneventful, take off, turbulence, the mass clicking of belts being buckled and unbuckled in accordance to backlit diagrams and in-flight announcements. Would you like coffee or tea? Can I offer you headphones for the movie? They’re free, but the pillows aren’t, you have to pay for your dreams and god forbid you’ve stowed your wallet in the convenient overhead compartment. You wont be able to afford to sleep. Not that sleep comes easy in this beige plastic world. With it’s arid air that stings the eyes, along with the incessant drone that seems emanate from everything and nothing at once and the ever nagging irrational fear that the laws of physics will realize man’s trickery and deception and knock this multi-ton metal tube out of the skies. Every pilot knows this, man was never meant to fly and how he does what he does everyday is merely an illusion preformed on the universe. All smoke and mirrors, a magic trick played on the cosmos. This is why pilots live such sultry lives, to keep one partner for to long would mean the odds of them being awoken in the night by the pilot’s screams as he dreamt another dream of plummeting. This is why astronauts also get absolutely obliterated on the cheapest of grain whiskeys before take off. You’d have to be drunk to strap yourself to an oversized firecracker that had the tendency to go sideways whenever a teacher was onboard...
The night after the funeral I had a dream of a desert landscape, blue-green in hue, where the light came from nowhere because there was no sun. Wherenothing grew but the amount of dust in the air, and it snowed ash. A black riverfertilized nothing, and a cold wind cut between the spaces of a field, filled untothe horizon with the crucified. Maggie was one of the faces, I could not see but Icould feel her there, crying for help, alone in a crowd of the tormented. Sylviapointed the way. I called Mags when I woke up and we skipped school together, went to alocal coffee shop and laughed through watery eyes. So different from thatnightmare girl. So beautiful in the sun. A drizzle seasoned us, more mist than rainreally, not soaking through, but making clothes adhere just a little around thecurves. Her sundress hugged her form, the flowers on them touching her in a waythat made me ache as she bent to take a paper from its bin. For a moment theflowers on her dress, daisies, became hyacinths, and Maggie’s eyes blue-greeneclipses that caught my soul and throttled it, tore it from my body, and with it,every word and name I ever knew. The world was a void, a Technicolor miragedreamed up by an insane, lonely nothingness, in a hopelessly futile attempt toexist. I was neither living nor dead, and I could not speak. So Maggie spoke forme.
Moving on. Yes, moving. Pulling in fact. On a trigger. The trigger causes the action on my revolver to strike the bullet. The powder ignites and flings the lump of metal. The metal does a swan dive into the eye of one of the lagoony colored imps and digs until it reaches its brain.I bet that really hurts. No. I know it hurts. My body remembers Trevor being shot. It DID definitely hurt.The boy continues to scream. I wonder if he’s trying to heal the dead too. I pull the trigger again and give him something else to do.The Wrecking Crew isn’t having fun either. They’re killing cousins and lots of them. For the first time ever, James is already out of knives. The heap of pincushions in front of me tells me where they went. He’s plucking the knives from the dead and throwing them as more and more imps clear the mound of dead in front of him.They have to. If they don’t keep moving, Manfred and Whitfields’ presents will find them. The two are lobbing little packages the size of kiwi fruit into the room beyond. I keep hearing spray hitting the walls just like someone’s painting.I wonder what color they chose for the kitchen.Charles is nowhere to be seen. I’m too busy throwing lumps of lead at internal organs to really see where he is but I have a feeling. My feeling becomes a certainly when the horde of imps all start wailing at once. What was a packed house is starting to slow. The eyes that my metal is doing somersaults into has something new in it.What was that thing again? It’s sitting in the back of my brain wanting to talk but my finger on the trigger doesn’t care enough to stop and listen.It’s as I’m reloading that I remember that look.It’s called fear.
I unzip my mouth. I speak with a guttural growl I never knew I had. “Turn yourselves into the authorities. They'll see to his wounds.”“Fuck off, you GIMP!” shouts Sixteen as he supports Speed Freak out of the alley into the light.I make sure they're gone. I'm glad I opened the zip, else my goggles would be steamed by my breath heaving out of me. I feel her breath behind me... impossible. The PVC would stop it, yet my skin starts to prickle with the sound of her breathing, imagining her chest heaving...I turn on my heel like a dancer. I am inches from her. The steam from our breathing mixes in the cold rain.I turn my voice to the growl again, “You need to see a doctor...”“What?” She looks past me to the floor. “My fucking PHONE!”She pushes past me and hurriedly limps to where Speed Freak had been. The blood spattered remains of a tiny mobile phone were crushed into the ground.“Madame, you've been hurt...”“You've broken my new phone, you've broken my foot, you can FUCK OFF!”
He laughed. “Sometimes I get embarrassed. And sometimes I get bored in shul. And sometimes I’d much rather be cosplaying. And also, you promised this month you’d get one.”“I’m going to be Lois Lane, right?”“No, Star Sapphire. We talked about this already.”“Isn’t she the evil one?”“Yes, but they’re boyfriend and girlfriend.”“Oh right. She’s the Jewish one.”“Well, we don’t know if she’s Jewish. Her name is Jillian Pearlman so, you know,” he shrugged. “I mean, I think she’s Jewish. With a name like that. But maybe it’s just her father whose Jewish.”“I think, if they never specified otherwise…”“They never did.”I smiled at him. “Then let’s just pretend she’s Jewish.”He went to put his arm around my shoulders, but then we saw an elderly Jewish couple crossing the street ahead of us. He was limping and she was standing beside him, defiantly. They were the older Orthodox generation, who lived here before the people who started our synagogue ever did. They probably had owned their apartment for fifty years and probably only paid a hundred bucks a month because of rent control. And they were very devout, and they were very observant, and they probably would’ve balked at the sight of a young Jewish couple touching in public. They probably would’ve said; Save that for the bedroom. And so instead he dropped his arm to the side. But I bumped into him – by accident on purpose – so he knew that I knew and so we both knew. And even if he couldn’t put his arm around me in public, we could both pretend he was. And maybe I was just tolerating the costumes, and the power rings, and long white boxes in the back of our closet full of plastic-wrapped comics and all the names I wish I didn’t remember like Hal Jordan and Alan Scott and John Stewart and Guy Gardner and Kyle Rayner (who wasn’t as good, except when Morrison wrote him) and all the rest which were taking up real estate in my brain. But some things are worth the sacrifice. Like loving the guy you’re walking with on a Saturday morning to hear a shmooze from a Rabbi that was probably just as boring as the list of powers that the green power ring bestows on its wearers.
1: NorthTo the North came the first of the cold winds and it chased and corralled the snow before it. From the high places at the top of the world, it lifted itself and moved across the glaciers, above a river, and beneath the stars, with an icy speed and purpose. It travelled a day and a night before it came to a reef of cloud resting above a wide lake.The first of the cold winds drove the cloud south and worked as it went, until, its strength diminishing, it came to rest and laid the cloud like a quilt half across the spine of a mountain range and half above a deep valley.In the centre of the cloud, the first molecule of water-vapour froze and fell, six-winged and unique, to the dreaming world below. Before long, another froze and fell, and then another and another and another. The first of the cold winds, its business complete, rested and waited for reinforcements.At first light, the men of the North who lived in the deep valley, stood at the foot of the mountains and looked at the faint dustings of snow. They sifted the cold air with their noses, then breathed deep, and knew that half-a-year of winter had come. They had seen the days dwindling, the rivers running more slowly, the birds moving in great arcs towards the south, and knew that even the weakest and briefest light would soon dissolve to blackness altogether.The men of the North began to prepare, driving their stock from the mountains down into the great barns in the valley and selecting those animals to be used for food, for clothing, for fuel and for tallow.The women of the North, too, were busy with preparations, darning last winter’s hides and filling larders with vegetables and cured meat. The edges of the windows were waxed, tarpaulins staked across vegetable gardens.That night, the Big Snows came and the men and women of the North drew closer to their fireplaces, waiting for the land to change and the ritual of engulfment.
4: MarcusIn the time it takes him to slowly blink three times, Marcus has catalogued almost one hundred objects in the room which, should he need to, his dark and agile hands can later turn to weaponry.The first blink and his mind measures the lobby’s dimensions, retrieves the opulent topography of its shapes and furnishings – the copper marbled floors and pillars, complex chandeliers, tall and verdant plants, low and wide waiting sofas, deep reception desk, piano - then rebuilds them into a faithful mental analogue. He has noted five exits, including the sliding glass entrance-doors he has just stepped through but excluding the four elevators, made unreliable through timing and potential for loss of power.Marcus blinks again and populates this internal, visual lobby with the people he sees: the Night Manager, the desk clerk, the piano-player, the bellhop, the quietly waiting couple, the drunk and squabbling party of six business people, negotiating cab fares. Already he has assessed each for threat and weakness, timed how long it will take him to cross the room, and calculated the moments and movements required to close them down.